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Jessica Jones offers an effective, unexpected meditation on grievance



Screenshot: Netflix
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Not only is "AK.A Hero Pants" a compelling episode in its own right, it retroactively makes the previous episode more interesting. Not the Sallinger parts, of course, those are well suited for saving. But it turns out we didn't have the full context for the emotional arcs Trish and Erik were experiencing in that episode. In fact, we do not get the full context until the final few minutes of episode, which spends most of its time as a slow-burn character study about grief, before pulling the back out from under us . The person who killed Office Nussbaumer was Erik, although he did serve as an accomplice. Instead, it was Trish who did it.

At me, at least, the moment Jessica started to put the pieces together about Trish came as a total shock. The episode downplays Trish's role to a quiet character study, so I was really thinking about here in relation to the larger plot mechanics. Plus, we had reason to think Trish even knew anything about Officer Nussbaumer. Yet the final reveal doesnâ € ™ t feel unearthed, either, because the previous episode did such a great job laying the emotional groundwork to get us to this point.

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Erik was racked with not putting Sallinger away on kidnapping charges when he had the chance, even more so Trish rejected his attempt at an apology. And Trish was fundamentally broken by the reveal that Jessica destroyed the evidence against Sallinger in order to save her. Given that emotional context, it's easy to understand why Erik would cross an ethical line to make things right with Trish in any way possible. And it's easy to see why Trish would feel pushed to take her work at a brutal level after experiencing yet another loss in a long, agonizing list of them.

As Trish explains during her mom's eulogy, the thing Dorothy valued most was talent and the thing she feared most was wasting it. It was a philosophy that led Dorothy to a lot of good in the world — as the mourners that here funeral explain to Trish. But it was also a philosophy that justified a lot of horrific, abusive behavior too. In pushing her superpowered talents to their most violently extreme uses, Trish is now continuing Dorothy's legacy in more ways than one. Like mother, like daughter

Screenshot: Netflix

“A.K.A Hero Pants” is not just a strong episode because of its twist ending. Up to that point it really works as a character-focused drama with light procedural episodes, exactly the same thing as asked for in my previous review. While the police continue investigating Jessica in connection with Nussbaumer's murderer, Jessica and Trish have to figure out how to mourn a parental figure who caused them a lot of harm throughout her life. As Erik explains while talking about his own father, the death of an abusive parent closes the book on any hope of redemption and reconciliation — even if that child of redemption was only ever and fantasy. "She wasn't perfect," Jessica sums it up later. "Don't make it any easier to bury her here."

Dorothy's complicated legacy is beautifully encapsulated in the photo Jessica chooses to pin to her memory board. It's an accidental snapshot of their legs the day Dorothy, Trish, and Jessica tried and failed to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was a day where everything went wrong, but as Jessica explains, “Normal wrong. Just like a regular family. ”It's not always easy to sum up the balance of good and bad in a person's life. Sometimes you just have to make peace with the messiness of reality.

Malcolm is another character trying to balance his personal scales of right and wrong. I have done much time to talk about Malcolm in these reviews, other than to note that most of his storyline hasn't been working for me. That is pleased to report that Malcolm is back to feeling like himself again and Jessica Jones is all the better for it! It wasn't an inherently bad idea to stretch Malcolm as a character, this season just didn't need the legwork to justify his turn to the dark side in the first place, which made it less interesting to watch him struggle to return to his old self. In his breakup with Zaya, he made it sound like he was seduced by the money, power, and luxury of Hogarth's world, but we never really saw that in action. Sure, he bought a couple of new suits and upgraded units in his apartment building, but hardly felt like he was understandable in a lifestyle that made his ethical compromises understandable.

Screenshot: Netflix

Jessica and Malcolm's reunion is wonderfully underplayed (“If you are new to a sanctimonious asshole, then it'll be upgraded”), and his willingness to help Brianna get a fresh start feels entirely in line with who is Malcolm. He's been on a path of recovery and reclamation ever since Kilgrave derailed his life, and it makes sense that he would be empathetic to someone else looking for a second chance. As for his hookup with Brianna, well, I'm gonna have to wait and see how I feel about that once I have a better sense of where the season is going with it.

"Wait and see" is actually how I feel about the big trish reveal too. It works really well as a surprise endpoint for this episode, but I haven't seen yet the way it restructures the season, especially since we've only got three more episodes left in Jessica Jones' world. Daredevil 's self-contained final than the open-ended tablesetting of Iron Fist and Luke Cage [19659023]. For now, however, this episode leaves Trish and Erik on the loose, and Jessica locked up in police custody.


Stray observations

  • Of course Dorothy used "I Want Your Cray Cray" as her ringtone.
  • I can't tell if I'm emphasizing it in these reviews, but at least a third of my notes for each episode are about how much I love Gillian. Jessica: "That never really saw you murder anyone."
  • Hogarth seems to be somewhat randomly trying to turn over a new, more heroic leaf, even if that means convincing Kith to blackmail and adversary.
  • Jessica and Erik are so, so sweet together
  • Krysten Ritter is absolutely heartbreaking in that mirror scene where Jessica tries to keep her emotional devastation in check.
  • So why did Trish take Officer Nussbaumer's badge? Is she starting her own trophy collection like Sallinger's photo album?
  • If your boyfriend is going to dump you while questioning the value of all of your life choices, you might as well be wearing an '80s power ensemble when he does it.
Screenshot: Netflix

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